By: DR. MOHAMED EL SHAHAT EL GENDI
The world of civilization and urbanization is still in the age of technology and information. It lacks the correct compass built on objective foundations to establish a human civilization that restores the true concept of man. Who feels his human value in its comprehensive meaning to get rid of poverty, hunger, disease, and wars, where lives a safe and dignified life in which he obtains basic rights and natural freedoms as a human being. In light of the natural disparity between progress and backwardness and between wealth and poverty; instead of committing the injustices, tyranny, and domination that the developed world exercises over the developing and underdeveloped world at all individual, collective, and international levels, which results in many disadvantages, epidemics and famines in the world order by which disrupts the world order, because of it wars and conflicts of every kind, religious, social, economic and political, erupt.
This is what humans suffer from, especially in the era of modern wars that threaten all of humanity. Through which super powers directed operations of liquidation and genocide against some peoples, under false slogans chanted by the aggressors with alleged ideas to justify their aggression in the era of the hegemony of the developed North world, America, Russia, and the countries of Europe, which always repeat bright terms for the sake of global leadership, such as globalization, the global citizen, democracy, peaceful coexistence, human rights, and others.
With firm certainty, that situation highlights the need to seek help from the principles of religion and the role of religious scholars and elite men. To preserve human rights and people from tyranny; by addressing or alleviating problems, resolving conflicts, and dealing with them objectively, away from bias towards one party against another party; by its purpose of caring for humans; directing him and correcting his actions on the straight path based on its reform message to achieve his correct caliphate from Allah in the universe. As the protector and savior of humanity from crises and tribulations; thus scholars carry out their duty to guide people and upright their behavior. On the path to reforming himself, developing his society, and restoring his humanity; as long as the prophets worked, and after them, the leading scholars followed their path. To lead people from misguidance to guidance and from corruption to reform, from fear to security.
For this reason, the thought of world and traditional religions, which target man as a principle and purpose in his faithful recognition of Allah, the enforcement of rational and comprehensive justice, and the exercise of his freedom of choice for man in his human capacity without discrimination of any kind in all fields. It is the last resort to get out of this dark tunnel. Which demonstrates tyranny and the imposition of will and double standards against weak people and the countries of the poor South. In various ways to achieve dependency, submission, depletion of wealth, and satisfaction with inferiority. There is no way for him but to accept what he wants in terms of submission to the policies and plans of the decision-makers in the superpowers. Accordingly, the importance of activating and developing the achievements of the Conference of Leaders of Religions in its march through seven sessions from its inception until the present time is evident, with permanent and strategic planning for the future to achieve the desired goal. This requires taking into account some important matters in this context, which are summarized below:
Orientation towards establishing an effective role for humans in religious thought
On the basis that man, in the true religious understanding, is the pillar of existence that is unique to all other living beings; with the message of worship and development, with the qualities and talents that God created in him and the qualities he possesses in his entire spiritual, heart, mental and physical being most perfectly, as proven by the text of the Almighty’s saying:
We created man in the best edifice. He is the best in his physical and moral form and the life components in the universe than other beings. Then it was necessary to revive the latent capabilities of every human being to establish peace as a paved path to development and urbanization, create a useful and positive personality at all personal, local, regional, and global levels, and engage in the areas of religious, cultural, social, economic and political life. This requires providing the necessary educational, environmental, psychological, and social factors. This role is fulfilled fairly and correctly, but without it, there are difficulties and obstacles in the current global situation, which requires cooperation and partnership between religious leaders, decision-makers, and concerned parties to strive for it and work constantly to achieve it.
Contributions of religious leaders in this stage
Religious leaders can work to instill awareness of its importance and the necessity of cooperation and partnership for achieving it between all humanity. As a religious responsibility and a societal and international interest, based on the principles, values, and behaviors that religions possess, with which they created virtuous societies. It established a common cultural contribution to humanity. This balance between thought and application. It is the key to overcoming the problems existing in the current era, such as inequality, instability, conflicts, and wars. This constitutes an obstacle to conducting a meaningful and successful dialogue that achieves what the backward nations aspire to, ensuring the creation of the appropriate environment for human development and creating the atmosphere for creating the global citizen that conferences and resolutions of the international organization have referred to. It is what religions have called for in religious discourse and in practical conduct and their conferences by:
1. Call for humanity in one peaceful and secure world.
We find the evidence for this by shifting from the partial concept to the complete concept of one humanity in one world that accepts everyone, its units are integrated and the countries in it stand in solidarity towards the goal of one humanity. This requires agreement on the basis required to achieve the goal: we are all being one; should all cooperate to ensure the basic needs for a decent living and to ensure the components of a person’s secure existence for himself, his community, his country, and his world. In sequential lines that complement each other.
2. The joint endeavor to employ and activate the use of the digital revolution, which has brought about an unprecedented scientific and cognitive transformation with its enormous technological and electronic achievements; by directing it to serve religious and humanitarian issues that guarantee an understanding of world that upholds the value of human humanity; with all the meaning it carries and the good it brings to everyone; to achieve the common goal of a safe and stable life in which the natural revival and differences between people are directed to strength, not weakness. And work to compete to achieve legitimate precedence and superiority to a factor that adds goodness and achieves development and urbanization. Not for the sabotage, demolition factor, and the dominance of a few over the large people this is what is happening in our world today.
From using the digital world as a means of spying on privacy, questioning identities, and washing minds and brains; to the conquest of globalization with its powerful mechanisms and its suspicious and deceptive methods, leading to ideological hegemony and the export of its legal and cultural systems that are superior and deny other systems that have provided civilizational roles in the path of humanity throughout history. What is required is to use this unprecedented digital boom in ways that are not intended for it, and to turn it in the right direction in creating the concept of a global village that cooperates and coexists together. On the balance of justice and the public interest, and recognition of the right to difference in identity and ideology, as well as freedom of opinion and expression; within the framework of positive cooperation for what achieves good; while preserving the peculiarities of each nation or group, its self-identity and its doctrinal origins, upon which the public order is established, with its religious, material, and moral components that preserve its entity and are the foundation of its existence. According to this truth, human societies were established from the very beginning.
And they will remain different from each other for the rest of the universe. It is a living truth and a reality stated in the Qur’an: “And if your Lord had willed, He would have made the people one nation while they still differ.” But the problem threatening the world order lies in the practices of the forces of oppression and arrogance through destructive methods and weapons, and they are known and exist in the age of scientific and information civilization.
3. Devoting the concept of collective and international leadership to achieve world peace by establishing it based on peaceful, humane, just, and equitable coexistence. This requires giving some countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America an active role in fair representation in expanding membership in the Security Council, the main body of the United Nations. To enable it to truly participate in the international decision-making process issued by the World Organization – and its affiliated agencies and in human rights bodies; based on finding true peace in its comprehensive sense, which ensures that peace prevails in the depths of man and the manifestations of daily life, starting from his inner feeling; and also in his external relations with the structures of his society, which is based on pluralism. It finds its foundations in Islam as a comprehensive religion that applies a unified standard. Regardless of differences in creed, color, gender, and social status. This peace must extend to international relations by ending armed conflicts and raging wars. In a way that religious leaders play an active role in the processes of resolving international disputes through peaceful means: negotiation, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, or international judiciary, to stop wars and settle disputes; or prevent them by preventing their outbreak; in such a way that the individual’s peace with himself is achieved, which is an important psychological and social component that is indispensable in the religious and human sense of giving priority to the factor of piety – by preventing one from falling into sins and crimes – over the element of evil and immorality that is inherent in the individual’s nature, along with goodness and righteous thought, according to the Qur’anic texts: And We have created man and We know. What he whispered to himself. And Allah Almighty says: “And oneself and they created it, then inspired it to its immorality and its piety.” Al-Shams/; It is what directs his behavior and shapes his actions that start from within him and translate it into a reality that affects people’s lives.
When adhering to its principles of guidance and reform the result leads to the creation of true peace, as translated by the behavior of the individual and the state in all transactions, so that the psychological meaning is integrated within its social, economic, and political; it is not limited to one side or another; which guides and limits the impact of unjust practices and fanatical behaviors biased toward peace, moderation, and justice that pervade human life at the individual, local, and international levels. It is the message of Islam and the heavenly religions. As stated in the Sunnah: A Muslim is one from whom Muslims are safe; in another narration: “Safe People from His Tongue and His Hand,” It is a concept of dealing that achieves the comprehensive and integrated meaning of human value that highlights the meaning of healthy humanity. It can also be a nucleus for the possibility of the existence of a global state of peace, in the basic meaning of Islam and the Abrahamic religions. It is one of the most important and urgent needs of humans, peoples, and countries in the world in the age of the Global organization according to the will of the major powers that maintain their dominance with the weapon of nuclear terror.
4. Achieving security and self-security for every individual on the local and regional levels of each country, as well as international security for the world from the farthest north and west to the farthest south and east; it is through him that the concept of complete peace is achieved at all levels, without separation of one from the other, but rather through communication and interconnection between them. Through which all parties move to practical security achieved on the ground and not security on paper or security based on mere claims, appeals, recommendations, or non-binding decisions. These methods are not sufficient to achieve the required safety. Real security is more indicative of the existence of security in its psychological and moral aspects, extending to the material, economic, social, and political aspects, as is the practical meaning in the Almighty’s saying: “So let them worship the Lord of this house, who has fed them from hunger and secured them from fear” Quraysh, as subsistence security and material security are contained within the realm of spiritual peace and security. In which the individual enjoys tranquility, safety, stability, and peaceful and amicable coexistence, which is the ultimate blessing, the greatest justice, and the most comprehensive in achieving the truth of the correct concept of humanity, because of the meanings of security it includes in all aspects of life, by providing inner tranquility and fulfilling the basic needs of every individual, and in living that guarantees a life safe from aggression.
As an individual, a group, or a state, complete and undiminished security prevails at all levels, at the personal level, at the collective level, and at the global level, which is the security that is lacking for modern-day human beings, despite all the claims of the developed world about the rights of the individual and citizen and global security. This is the goal that must be achieved. Religious leaders take the initiative to alert them and demand positive intervention and partnership in achieving them, as well as raising awareness about them and participating in their implementation with decision-makers at the internal level. And with the concerned authorities through various activities in seminars, workshops, conferences, and international organizations; and to insist that religious leaders be a party to it; with serious and organized cooperation based on knowledge of its path and developments; to strive to achieve it on the ground in an appropriate period; this is what Islamic security achieved, which transformed from imperative texts to practical applications. He moved from ideology to an international legal system.
Thus, man moved from the world of chaos to the world of safety and stability in all fields of life. Until the Qur’an said: Have they not seen that Islam has made a secure sanctuary to which the fruits of all things are brought? The verse includes multiple dimensions, after the concept of security in its comprehensive meaning, material, and subsistence, due to their necessity in the life of the individual and society, not partial security, which is what resulted in achieving the realistic transformation from the theoretical concept to the practical living application. Under the leadership of Muhammad the Prophet, may God’s prayers be upon him, with the realization of the value of man and the universality of humanity, with its humanitarian foundation and slogan, humanity secured through a system and state based on Sharia law that triumphed for human dignity and secured its existence by providing all the reasons for a good life based on peace, security, happiness, and justice. This happened before the establishment of the international system and the drafting of the Global Charter.
Launching the favorite slogan: The United Nations, signed by all countries, but this necessary achievement has been emptied of its content in the current global system due to the position of the emperors of the superpowers in controlling and unfairly exploiting the sources of wealth and the destinies of peoples and countries. It remained in the theoretical realm in international constitutions and conventions and was not transferred to the practical. There is little practical implementation for the sake of interests and leadership, which is what must be achieved by the contribution of religious leaders, the provision of serious cooperation formulas, and the availability of determination and will between religious leaders and political leaders. It is a very real development required for peace, security, and development for humanity which religions put at the heart of their texts. Heaven’s messages and religious laws are concerned with it. It would be better for the Conference of Religious Leaders to adopt it with a specific work program in its time, stages, and type, with a correct understanding of comprehensive protection of the life of the human race in the modern era as a requirement for achieving global peace and security. With phased plans in which the responsibilities of both the religious and political leadership are determined for oversight and follow-up of implementation; Which the countries of the Global North should adhere to in their relations with the nations and peoples of the Global South based on security that is beneficial to all. Following the requirements of justice in all its local, regional, and international dimensions; As long as this is found, complete safety is achieved.
The outcome of the idea of developing the concept of religious leaders’ contribution to: the ideology and successful model of the correct concept of interreligious relations and activating the role of religious leaders in human development, rationalizing their thoughts, and correcting their behaviors; as well as contributing to maintaining international peace and security; it is based on building and developing the individual as a human being who enjoys his human rights in the fullest sense. This is due to the comprehensive concept of the elements and components inherent in the entire human self, not the specific concept that falls short of absorbing the whole and leaving out the rest of the elements that include all the components of the human being. Likewise, by adopting the comprehensive concept, not the partial one, in addressing the requirements for rational dealing in affairs of human relationships and transactions based on acquaintance and understanding between man and his fellow man according to the one origin that unites human beings; and based on the constant bond of human brotherhood that is inherent in human existence at all stages.
Moreover, the concept of one humanity is based on complete, undiminished foundations and values that guarantee; building a complete human edifice that must get rid of the thoughts and practices of extremism and terrorism and follow the paths of moderation and centrism; based on an investigation into understanding and applying the foundations of correct human society based on equality in humanity and building relationships on mutual respect, cooperation, the performance of religious and life rights, forgiveness and tolerance, especially when one has mastery and victory; hence, the bias is truly towards peace and security for the individual and the national community, and the preservation of global peace and security. Therefore, it is necessary to establish meaningful and constructive dialogues based on equality and seriousness as a basis for communication and conflict resolution using religious and humanitarian concepts to build a safe world. In light of what is happening in political geography within the framework of the globalization ideology that dominates the management of the world; and the formation of its system according to its dominant vision, with which some identities are exposed to challenges through weakness or dissolution. And also to dismantle nations and societies and corrupt their systems. In addition to the potential threat to international peace and security; if it is not comply and adherence to peaceful behavior and by implementing established religious principles aimed at correction and reform of life.
The Writer is the Rector of The Egyptian University of Islamic Culture and Representative of the Egyptian Ministry of Endowments.